The Twelfth Fourth
Joe and I have now been married 12 years. That's quite a chunk of time. We still like each other, we still laugh together, and we are still each other's favorite. We've also now had kids for 75% of our marriage, so it's no wonder the image of "us" gets overshadowed by the loudness of, struggle in parenting, and exhaustion from "them".
We love and enjoy our kids, but let's face it -- kids are constantly trying to be their own persons and dominate the environment (and people) around them, and parents when not saying "yes, sure, yes" are treated as a blockade to those goals. Some days I feel like the use of "Mom" is a constant barrage of little arrows besieging the inner sanctum of my thoughts -- as in I can't have thoughts. I've become an advocate for not only physical boundaries (privacy on the potty for example) but also audio ones. A person should be allowed to have a chunk of time of silence or at least space for interrupted thought, not all day long, but at least for a little while. With one child who narrates his every thought and another who repeats "Mom, Mo-om, MOM!" until he gets a response, there isn't often that space in the summer. Joe and I try to pick up on those hints that the other needs some quiet. On Sunday, Joe was wiped out, so I took the kids out for haircuts and other errands. He got a long peaceful nap. Some days he can tell that bedtime is on him. Sometimes we are both just done with the kids' attitudes, and our frustrations pour out of us. It's not a pretty sight, and we don't necessarily relish in those sides of each other, but I think we try to let it roll. It hit me the other day that my angry mama face and vocal inflections probably aren't any more or less attractive than his.
We were married on the Fourth of July in a little town between Chattanooga and Knoxville, and most years we get fireworks to help us celebrate, whether its by getting to watch a display, firing some with friends, or as we did when the kids were in tough stages, hearing the booms and seeing the flickers from our back yard. Last night we decided to go to Knightdale. There was a huge crowd, but with all the fields, there was plenty of room to spread out and let the boys run around as we waited. The downtown Raleigh crowds can be overwhelming to us, so this was more our speed, and the display was great. Happy 4th!